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  1. Junior Member
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Oct 2016
    • Posts: 80
    #1

    could vs be able vs could have

    As part of my assignment I needed to answer this question:

    Fortunately, some work was going on inside the building, thus, after giving the caretaker a tip, we ______ our guest a place he would never have seen.

    a) could show
    b) could have shown
    c) were able to show
    d) managed showing

    Automatically, D is ruled out.

    The correct answer is C. But I don't understand why A doesn't work.
    As for B, I think it would mean that they had the opportunity but they did not do it.

  2. teechar's Avatar
    Moderator
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Iraq
      • Current Location:
      • Iraq

    • Join Date: Feb 2015
    • Posts: 7,578
    #2

    Re: could vs be able vs could have

    Generally speaking, we tend to use "were/was able to" instead of "could" when we talk about a single past event.

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